It feels like an eternity ago that COVID-19 first hit our community, even though my calendar indicates it’s only a couple of months. It has dramatically impacted everyone, and personally, it feels like I am in a COVID-19 fog which challenges my ability to see what is ahead. With stay-at-home orders shifting throughout the region, it is still important that we continue to work together to help the community stay safe and to provide support for those most impacted by the coronavirus.
I am proud to report that since March, Truman Heartland Community Foundation donor advised fundholders have granted more than $240,000 to nonprofits in direct response to the pandemic. And year to date, total grants from these donors are up 23 percent over 2019. We are grateful that these fundholders have responded generously during this crisis.
As we continue to connect with community leaders and nonprofits to learn how we can best support our community during recovery, I am inspired by the nimble and innovative ways organizations are serving the community while maintaining social distancing to keep clients, volunteers and staff safe. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 section on our website at www.thcf.org/COVID-19 to learn more about how nonprofits in Eastern Jackson County are adjusting to meet the rapidly-changing needs of the community during this crisis and how you can help.
This is a time for creativity and action, and your Community Foundation is responding. In addition to launching the new COVID-19 section on our website and regularly encouraging fundholders to invest in the nonprofit community, we are adjusting our competitive grants cycle to offer flexibility and funding to nonprofits when they need it most – now.
By fast-tracking the grants review process for our 2020 competitive grants program, we will be able to award grant checks in July instead of November. This is truly a community undertaking. This year, Truman Heartland received requests for more than $892,000 in grant support, which is more than three times the amount available to grant. Our dedicated Board and Advisory Board members are busy reading grant proposals and meeting via Zoom to make difficult funding decisions.
While we are dedicated to expediting this funding, it has dramatically changed the process for our youngest Advisory Board members, our Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Participating in our annual competitive grants program is an important learning opportunity for these high school students, providing a look behind the scenes at area nonprofits and hands-on experience in grantmaking. Under normal circumstances, YAC teams would spend June and July coordinating in-person visits to area nonprofits to learn more about their funding requests for youth-serving programs. However, with the fast-tracked grants cycle, site visits and presentations all moved online. YAC students met with nonprofits via Zoom to gather insights to share with the Foundation’s Grants Committee and recommendations for grants the students will award from their self-funded endowment.
The road to social and economic recovery will be long and winding. As things reopen, many low-wage restaurant and retail employees, who were barely making ends meet before the pandemic, may not have a job to return to. We know that there will be even more need for our Job Skills for New Careers Initiative and are working closely with our collaboration partners to respond to this increased need. You can find out more about this initiative and our partners at www.thcf.org/job-skills.
I am confident this COVID-19 fog will lift someday. And by working together to help the community stay safe and provide support for those most impacted, we will produce the energy and light needed to lift this fog. Stay safe, and let’s all keep working together.
Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $48 million and annual grants surpassing $4.8 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.
Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) has released its Deans List for the spring 2020 semester.
The students qualified for the honor by earning a grade point average of 3.75 or above on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in 12 or more credit hours.
Brady R. Garmon
Alyssa M. Lampe
Garmon, a pre-med student at MSSU, was also honored as a spring 2020 Glenn Dolence Leadership Award honoree.
The awards are named in honor of Dr. Glenn D. Dolence, former vice president for Student Services at Missouri Southern, who retired from MSSU in 1996 after 27 years of service and was a founding member of the Golden Crest Circle of ODK. He later served as mayor of Webb City, Mo., and has held a variety of other posts in the community.
Park University announces its Spring 2020 graduates from the University’s flagship Parkville Campus, as well as the Downtown Kansas City, Independence, and Lenexa campuses, and online graduates from across the region.
These graduates were scheduled to participate in the University’s commencement ceremony on May 9th at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, but the event was cancelled earlier in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The University had 615 students eligible to graduate — 253 students received a master’s degree and/or a graduate certificate, and 362 students received a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate.
Master of Healthcare Administration
Navadene F. Harris, Healthcare Administration, Grain Valley
Harris also earned a Graduate Certificate in Health Services Management and Leadership
Master of Social Work
Rachelle Lynn Brown, Grain Valley, (attended Lexington [Mo.] High School)
Bachelor of Science
Fatima F. Figueroa, Business Administration/Management, Grain Valley, (Summa Cum Laude)
Elisabeth Fleischmann, Biology, Grain Valley, Mo. (Summa Cum Laude)
Sick of dieting? Can’t fathom the thought of another “food rule?” If you’re ready to adopt a diet plan that is both realistic and maintainable, look no further.
For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been named the best overall diet to follow, according to U.S. News & World Report. Criteria from seven different categories were considered when ranking 35 of the most popular diets in the world.
Criteria included how easy the plan was to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, safety, nutritional completeness, and its potential for preventing common chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. The Mediterranean diet doesn’t ban any food groups, making it an easier meal plan to follow than other elimination diets.
Let’s explore the foundation of the diet and how to start eating the Mediterranean way.
More Fruits and Vegetables:
It’s no surprise that a diet that scored top dog would be one that emphasizes these two food groups. Most Americans don’t eat enough produce; aiming for five servings daily will aid with many health goals. If five seems like a lot, simply add one more serving to your current eating pattern and continue to work up to the full five.
A diet that still encourages bread? Count me in! If you find yourself lethargic or hungry, the culprit may be a lack of carbs or fiber consumed. Making one switch while grocery shopping will fill your belly without going over your budget.
There is a whole-grain option for every wheat product you can think of. Pasta? Yep. Your morning toast? You got it. Pizza crust? Sure thing and it’s even tasty.
Butter is a staple in most households; however, the Mediterranean diet encourages the use of olive oil when cooking. Olive oil contains a hefty dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol.
Drizzle and sauté veggies and protein or use as a base for salad dressing. More than likely, you won’t even notice the difference when making this single swap.
More Seafood; Limited Red Meat:
Again, this diet doesn’t eliminate food groups, but it does want you to be considerate about portions and cuts. Aim for two servings of seafood a week, while selecting lean red meat choices. A serving of meat is 3-4 ounces, or about the size of an iPhone.
Herbs and Spices:
Shake it off - the use of salt, that is. Mediterranean cuisine relies heavily on the spice rack, which pumps up the flavor without any added sodium. Turn any basic meal into an impressive dish using fresh mint or rosemary and spices such as ginger and red pepper flakes.
No harsh rules, no off-limit foods, no pre-packaged meals. It’s understandable why the Mediterranean diet is consistently a top contender on the best-ranked diet list.
When a well-rounded approach to eating isn’t restrictive, magic happens. Take a look at your current meal behaviors and start making small changes where you can. Today seems like the perfect day to stop depriving and start enjoying food again.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Megan Callahan is one of your Hy-Vee Corporate Dietitians. She is dedicated to helping people live healthier and happier lives. Megan received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Missouri State University. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she also received her Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition. Megan has been working with Hy-Vee full-time for 10 years. With a passion for nutrition and wellness, Megan is dedicated to educating customers and promoting healthy lifestyles to our Hy-Vee community. Megan lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband Matt, and their 2 children Kennedy (4) & Carsyn (2).
by Denise Sullivan, Nutrition & Health Education Specialist,MU Extension-Jackson County
As I visited with friends about vegetables, it seems that beets are another sorely misunderstood vegetable. Growing up at my house, I remember having them one of two ways: cold as pickled beets (that I still enjoy) or hot in a thickened vinegar laden sauce that my mom called Harvard Beets, of which I was not a fan. A quick google search will confirm that Harvard Beets are essentially hot pickled beets, a concept that is difficult for my brain to process. Thanks, but I’ll take my pickles cold.
There is a lot to eat when it comes to beets, as the root, stem and leaf all can be prepared in a variety of ways. The tops, known as beet greens, can be prepared like any other green by sautéing, or if young and tender enough, as a salad green. The stems of the beet plant can also be diced and added to the sautéed greens; much like preparing Swiss chard.
The beet is the bulbous taproot of the plant. The size of the beet is dependent upon the space available to develop, as is the case with most root vegetables. Beets will have the best flavor and be less fibrous if they are smaller than 3 inches in diameter. To make use of both the greens and the beet, they are best separated and stored separately.
The greens should be ‘soaked and swished’ to remove dirt, drained, wrapped in paper towels and stored in a perforated plastic bag. The beet should be stored in a perforated plastic bag and washed prior to cooking and peeling the skins after cooking.
Beets are an excellent source of folate, manganese, iron and riboflavin, while the greens are rich in vitamin A, C, K, calcium and potassium. This nutrient profile makes beets beneficial in maintaining healthy blood circulation and pressure, bone strength, and neural tube development in developing babies. Beets also show promise in reducing inflammation.
Beets range in color from deep purple to ruby red to golden to white. There is even a red and white striped variety, nick named the candy cane beet. Sugar beets are the most common type white beet.
People often avoid beets due to their tendency to stain utensils (and clothing), but the deep color is actually desirable use a natural food dye. Purple and red beets also have a stronger flavor, so golden beets would be a milder flavor choice.
Preparation methods can also have an influence on flavor. Boiling is the easiest and most common method of preparation, but also results in the strongest flavor. Roasting tends to mellow the flavor and bring out more of the natural sweetness, as is common with root vegetables.
While Julia Child is quoted as saying she is a ‘beet freak who cooks them in a pressure cooker’, roasting is my preferred method for cooking beets (if I’m not pickling them). The recipe below is my copycat version of one of my favorite restaurant salads that combines roasted beets, oranges and avocados with arugula for a colorful springtime salad. I hope you enjoy it too!
The following information is derived from the Grain Valley Police Department daily calls for service log for the week of May 6—12, 2020.
As residents begin to slowly resume daily activities with the gradual lifting of restrictions on businesses and gathering places, many are looking forward to the opportunity to resume attending church in person. The stay-at-home order forced many congregations to further embrace online platforms, reaching out to parishioners through Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and other services. But both local pastors and church members are growing weary of meeting virtually.
Following often heated discussions, Jackson County amended the Phase One executive order on May 13th to allow gyms, fitness centers, and places of worship to open with occupancy limits. Places of worship are also now allowed to open with the same occupancy limits as nonessential businesses. Jackson County Health Department continues to encourage the use of drive-in and online services whenever possible, especially for high risk populations.
Faith United Methodist Church in Grain Valley plans to continue to online-only worship through the end of May. Pastor Mike Cassidy explained his congregation is following guidelines from both the County and the Missouri UMC.
“This has been a difficult decision because we do miss meeting together and have some members of our community who are unable to access the internet. Also, May 31st is Pentecost, when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. It will be hard not to be together on that day, but we trust that we are making the best decision for the health and safety of our congregation and our neighbors,” Cassidy said.
“When we do return to worship, we are looking at coming back in phases. We've already set the chairs in our sanctuary 6 feet apart to get a feel for what it might be like. We've got plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfectant ready to go. Most likely, our first phase will only include worship in smaller numbers without Sunday school or nursery care.”
“One of the biggest long term changes for us will be the continuation of online worship. This has been something we've been working toward at Faith and the shutdown really sped that process up for us. We've been reaching new people and even bringing back some families who had drifted away. We are committed to continuing this online community even after we return to life in the sanctuary. It is well known that churches see an increase in attendance and giving when they add online worship opportunities, and this has certainly proved true for Faith,” Cassidy said.
Crossroads Church in Grain Valley resumed in-person services last Sunday and will continue again this Sunday, abiding by the social distancing and sanitization protocols as well as limiting building capacity. The church will only hold one service, with no nursery, preschool, or children’s ministry programming. Attendees are asked to RSVP for church service so the church may maximize seating and accommodate guests. RSVPs may be made at the following link: https://crossroadsgv.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/425319
Live streaming of services will continue on Facebook and YouTube.
First Baptist Church Grain Valley will meet online this Sunday, but resume in-person services on May, 31st. The church has been utilitizing Facebook Live and their website, www.grainvalleyfirst.com to share online services, but Pastor Wayne Geiger said he and his congregation are looking forward to the day when they can worship together in person.
“The notes and messages that we are getting from our folks are that people have appreciated our approach and are enjoying the online broadcasts but are really looking forward to meeting again in person when the storm is over,” Geiger said.
Valley Community Church meets at Sni-A-Bar Elementary and have finalized plans with Grain Valley Schools to resume services this Sunday with 25% capacity.
We will ask families not to arrive early, but to enter just before service time (10:00am) and go directly to the auditorium as a family. Families will sit together at a distance from other families for a shortened, family style worship service,” Valley Community Church Pastor Jason Williams said.
“We will not have any kids ministries in operation for the foreseeable future. Several other suggestions for safety will be implemented as well.”
“The last several weeks have been challenging and difficult for us, but our people have done a tremendous job of following the advice of our leaders. Our most vulnerable will be staying home but many will be in attendance for much needed fellowship together,” William said.
Church attendance is not the only factor affected by the shut-down. Youth, community programs, and ministry work has been impacted during this time, but not always negatively.
“Throughout the shutdown, a lot of our programming has been either suspended or seriously pulled back. Our children's and youth ministry have been hosting gatherings through Zoom, but we are definitely feeling Zoom fatigue at this point and it is not at all the same as sharing the same physical space. Some of our small groups are also taking advantage of Zoom. Our taekwondo, cardio class, and music groups have had to take a hiatus and we are still unsure when they will be able to resume. A bright spot has been that we've been able to continue our relationship with the school system to pack and deliver backpack snacks to elementary students in Grain Valley. This is a joint effort between the local churches, Bright Futures, and Grain Valley Assistance Council. We've seen an increase in support from the community for this project since the outbreak. One family in the church stepped up to pack 100 bags each week while wearing masks and gloves to help minimize contact and possible spread of disease,” Cassidy said.
“During the stay-at-home orders, most of our Groups, KidzMin classes for Elementary and Preschool, our Middle/High School Ministry and our Sunday Services have all offered Zoom or Livestream venues to continue to participate. We really enjoyed some wonderful things about this season of ‘The Great Pause’ - getting to do a lot of ministry in some really new ways was a challenge that stretched many of us and grew our church family,” Jones said.
“During this time, our deacons, program leaders, and small groups leaders have continued to stay in touch with members. We have also provided online, downloadable content for families with children and youth and have done targeted Facebook Live and Zoom connections with them. We also have Zoom courses that have been happening during the week for men and women,” Geiger said.
The ability of churches to continue to fund operations and ministries was certainly a concern, but the shutdown has created some positive results.
“Our giving was down slightly initially, but as our people realized how long it was going to last, began giving online and we saw very little change. I'm thankful that our people are so generous! It allows us to continue to be a blessing as a church to our community and to many different ministries around the world,” Williams said.
“Not having people at the church has been odd and saddening, and all of us are craving the opportunity to worship and fellowship together. However, God has continued to bless us as a church. We have not cut back on any of our missions giving and this time of not being able to get together has not affected our overall budget,” Geiger said.
“We certainly lived out, through this period, that the church is not a building. Since our very beginning, we've always taught the value that we don't go to church...we are the church,” Jones said.
“Financially, our offerings have never been better. Not only have we continued to meet budget consistently, but our offerings have also increased over the first quarter. Not only that, but we've raised several thousand dollars in special offerings for people groups suffering in our city and around our world.”
“All in all - it's not the same, but we believe that God is in constant care for and absolute rule over all His creation, for His glory and the good of His people. This pandemic didn't catch Him by surprise or off His game. He's teaching us and strengthening us through these trials for the work that He's prepared for us to do,” Jones said.
Residents hoping to kick off the summer season this Memorial Day weekend with a dip in the pool will have to wait a few weeks longer. Grain Valley Parks and Recreation announced the opening of the pool will be delayed until June, contingent on the restrictions provided in Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan for outdoor aquatic facilities. Aquatic programs, including swim lessons, are contingent upon Phase 2 restrictions.
The Fitness Center inside the Grain Valley Community Center reopened on Monday, May 18th. The gymnasium and all other common meeting space have remained closed, with just the Fitness Center open to the public.
“We are thrilled to once again see members of our community coming in to exercise. Even though we are not ‘completely’ open yet, the Fitness Center is a step in the right direction to once again provide opportunities for health and wellness to our residents,” Shannon Davies, Grain Valley Parks and Recreation Director said.
The Center will be open 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday through at least May 25th, and will not be open on Memorial Day.
“We hope to reopen the building in its entirety soon and resume our normal hours of operation, 7 days a week. This will be contingent on Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan, which we have been told will be issued between now and May 25th,” Davies said.
The Center is open to current members and those wanting to purchase a membership or day pass.
Davies explained the Community Center has implemented several safety measures in response to COVID-19, including:
Limiting the # of patrons in the Fitness Center at one time. Patrons are encouraged to call the Community Center (816-847-6203) before arriving to see if there will be a wait.
Certain pieces of cardio equipment and weight machines are “out-of-service” to ensure that the 6-feet of distance between individuals is adhered to.
Patrons must sign-in when they arrive, and sign-out when they leave. This includes name and contact information. This allows for tracing by the Jackson County Health Department should the need arise.
Patrons are not allowed to use the Fitness Center if they are showing any signs of illness.
Patrons are required to wash their hands before entering the Fitness Center and required to wash their hands before leaving the facility.
Patrons are required to wipe down any fitness equipment immediately after they are done using it with anti-bacterial/alcohol wipes provided at the center.
Center staff is required to wear facemasks when interacting with patrons who come to exercise. Staff are to not come to work if they are exhibiting any signs of illness.
Facemasks for patrons are recommended when visiting, but it is not required.
Center staff sanitizes commonly used areas each day before opening and more frequently depending on volume.
Grain Valley’s aquatic facility will not reopen on Memorial Day weekend due to
Jackson County’s stay-at-home order. The opening of the pool will be delayed until June, contingent on the restrictions provided in Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan for outdoor aquatic facilities. Aquatic programs, including swim lessons, are contingent upon Phase 2 restrictions.
Photo credit: City of Grain Valley
With record unemployment in Missouri due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are facing financial stress and food insecurity. The Grain Valley Assistance Council (GVAC) continues to meet their needs of their current clients and is providing drive-thru delivery of food assistance to anyone in need.
“We have seen a small increase in the numbers we serve in Grain Valley. The new families we are seeing have been laid off and have no income. They have tried filing for unemployment and are applying for food stamps,” Donna Compton, Site Director for GVAC said.
The organization remains open on Wednesdays from 9:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 4:00pm, with a few changes to maintain volunteer and client safety.
“At this time, we are using a drive-thru delivery method and not allowing anyone inside our building, except for volunteers. I have limited the number of volunteers also. We have no more than six in our building on Wednesdays,” Compton said.
GVAC has suspended residency requirements to request food assistance at this time.
“Since it is a drive-thru delivery method, we ask that everyone in the car, stays in their car. We will ask you to have your trunk open, so we can walk out and place the food in your trunk. If your trunk is not available, we will place your food away from our building, so you can drive up further and load your food into your car.”
Donations are always needed to maintain the food pantry and provide utility assistance for clients in need. Compton anticipates that the numbers of families requesting utility assistance and food assistance will increase in the coming months.
“Right now, any monetary or food donation is appreciated. We have a food barrel available inside the Grain Valley Price Chopper. We would ask that if you have a donation you want to bring to the office, please bring it in the Wednesday we are open. You can leave it outside the door. Please do not bring items any other day as the office is closed.”
“The only donations we are accepting at this time are food, hygiene products, and monetary donations. We are in need of jelly (plastic containers), syrup, pancake mix, canned meats, boxed dinners (hamburger helper) and canned pasta sauce (in cans, not jars, please). Since our clothes closet is not opened, we are not taking any other donations at this time,” Compton said.
The community continues to step up to assist GVAC in their efforts. Recently, GVAC received a grant from Sam’s Club for $1,500, a grant from Shelter Insurance for $1,000, and $500 in in-kind hygiene product donations from the Church of Latter Day Saints. Grain Valley Chiropractic recently completed a fundraiser for the organization, raising over $3,000.